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Polling places report slow turnout on Primary Day

Polling places report slow turnout on Primary Day
Posted at 6:37 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 18:37:22-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- With polls closing this evening, Virginians have been casting their ballots in the primary election.

At stake this evening is the statewide nomination for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General for Virginia Democrats. Historically, voter turnout for off-year primaries is lower.

Polling places across the area are reporting slow days.

"Particularly right now, it's really important to express your feelings about politics," Pat Campbell said.

She said that she didn't want to miss the chance to take part in Virginia's democracy.

"I'm very upset about how divided we are politically," Campbell said. "I'm looking for local issues like schools and taxes and that kind of thing. But I'm also looking for people who are strong enough to be independent and not just go along the party line all the time."

There is more to Primary Day than just selecting nominees. In a crowded field that includes a former governor, some political watchers say that who Virginia picks as their candidate for governor signals where the party is headed.

In the November election, the balance of power in the House of Delegates is up for grabs. Additionally, with a narrowly divded Senate, the Lt. Governor could play a key role in a tie-breaking vote on big issues.

Virginia Republicans are working to take back power in both cases.

"I'm going to support the Democrat who I think is most electable," Michael Huges, a primary voter, said.

Over 115,000 early ballots were cast for the primary, which election officials say is up from past elections. Low voter turnout overall is expected in state and local primaries compared to national races.

"I think people are just not as involved as they need to be," Campbell said.

She calls it a shame that voters as a whole don't take part in their local offices at the same rate that they do with national offices.

"You can't just vote in the big, national elections. You have to be involved in everything. If we don't express our feelings and opinions, we're giving it away," Campbell said.

Virginia Republicans picked Glen Youngkin, Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares as their statewide candidates at a members-only convention last month.